Alien: Covenant disc to feature 18 minutes of extra footage

Details have landed for the Alien: Covenant DVD and Blu-ray release...

The official announcement for the DVD and Blu-ray release of Alien: Covenant has arrived in the US, and it’s brought with it confirmation of a lot of excised footage.

The disc is set to include 12 deleted and extended scenes in all, running to just shy of 18 minutes. Quite what those deleted scenes are remains to be seen, although it’s expected that at least one or two will centre around the prologue sequence at the start of the film.

Intriguingly, the disc is also set to include a 55 minute Ridley Scott masterclass feature, that’ll presumably dig into the making of the movie in some depth. Furthermore, Scott has provided an audio commentary too.

We’re assuming that these extra features will port over to the UK release of Alien: Covenant as well. The US release has been set for August 15th, whilst no date has yet been confirmed in the UK.

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Here’s the box art, though…

You can flick over to page 2 of this article for more on the film, too…

Alien: Covenant trailers, featurettes and prologues

You can see all the trailers, featurettes and prologues for Alien: Covenant right here…

The new IMAX featurette below has another interesting detail to ponder over. As noted by Scified, the film credits at the end of the promo run over a familiar image: the Juggernaut from the original Alien. The Juggernaut was, of course, a wreck on LV-426 – a very different location from the one in Alien: Covenant. But could the planetoid feature in the film at some point, if only briefly? We look forward to finding out…

Alien: Covenant IMAX Featurette from Chris Picard on Vimeo.

This new prologue picks up just after Prometheus ended, with Shaw (Noomi Rapace) and David (Michael Fassbender) blasting off in a stolen Engineer ship. As many predicted, Shaw generously stitched David’s head back on – which, we think, may have been a tactical error on her part. We won’t say what else happens – just take a look at the short film below, and you’ll get an idea of what might be coming up in Alien: Covenant…

Alien: Covenant posters

Alien: Covenant plot – what we know about the story

Here’s the official synopsis for Alien: Covenant…

“Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created in ALIEN with ALIEN: COVENANT, the second chapter in a prequel trilogy that began with PROMETHEUS — and connects directly to Scott’s 1979 seminal work of science fiction. Bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, the crew of the colony ship Covenant discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world — whose sole inhabitant is the “synthetic” David (Michael Fassbender), survivor of the doomed Prometheus expedition.”

Since that synopsis was released, it’s actually been confirmed that Covenant is part two of a prequel quadrilogy. In total, Scott wants four prequels to Alien, not just the ‘trilogy’ mentioned in the synopsis.

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The title itself – Covenant – could provide some clues to the story. We’ve thought about that in detail in a different article.

The image above also confirms that the Weyland-Yutani corporation will be the employers of the Covenant’s crew in the movie. That’s not a massive surprise to fans of this franchise, of course, but we thought you’d like to know.

In an interview with Collider, David actor Michael Fassbender has lent further weight to those hopes, as he suggests that, while Alien: Covenant will offer a similar sense of scale as the 2012 film, it will also be “scarier than Prometheus.”

“This Alien is going to be… I’m very excited to see it and everybody in the film was saying this is a film that we all want to see. It’s much scarier than Prometheus but it’s got the same sort of scope of Prometheus. It’s kind of got more of the sort of thriller, imminent disaster feel that Alien had, so it’s kind of a beautiful meeting of both of those films. I’m really excited to see it, I think it’s gonna be super scary number one and then again with the massive scope of Prometheus… Once it starts and the ball starts rolling, it doesn’t let up. It’s really gonna bring chills to the cinema.”

It certainly sounds promising to us. We’ll bring you more on Alien: Covenant as we get it. 

Alien: Covenant cast

With Michael Fassbender’s David said to be the only character returning from Prometheus (there will be no sign of Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw, apparently, and Fassbender is set to play two characters this time), a whole new set of actors have signed up for Alien: Covenant.

Katherine Waterston (pictured directly above) of Inherent Vice and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them has the lead female role, we’re told. Her character is called Daniels. Looking at the latest image from the set (see page 1 of this article), Daniels wields a big ol’ gun at some stage.

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Danny McBride – best known for his comedy, particularly Eastbound & Down and Pineapple Express – will play one of the main blokes in the film. Demian Bichir (last seen as Bob in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight) has also signed up.

Alien: Covenant Xenomorph – will this dude show up? 

The video above was released on ‘Alien Day’ 2016, revealing loads of concept art for an Alien King to go with the famously frightening Alien Queen from Aliens. It isn’t yet 100% confirmed if this new male Xenomorph overlord will appear in Alien: Covenant, but it certainly seems like a possibility.

After all, Prometheus ended with a big tease of the Xenomorph’s evolution, so it makes sense that we might see another new variation in its sequel.

Alien: Covenant spoilers

Look away now if you don’t want to know a minor potential spoiler for Alien: Covenant. Still here? Cool. We’ve heard from several sources that Michael Fassbender will be playing two different versions of his evil android David in the new movie.

Scified shared the news after uncovering two separate reports of this spoilery plot point from Australian news outlets (Covenant is shooting in Australia). According to the Sydey Morning Herald, Ridley Scott had this to day:

“Scott said it would follow on from 2012’s Prometheus and would have Michael Fassbender returning as both android David and a doppelganger.”

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The website SBS backed that up with the following:

“Scott said Alien: Covenant will pick up from the end of Prometheus, and see Fassbender playing two versions of his android character, David.”

That’s certainly enough evidence to have us convinced. And who wouldn’t want to Fassbenders for the price of one?

Fassbender himself has been chatting about the characters he’s set to play in the movie. He’ll not only be reprising the “some robots just like to watch the world burn” role of David – whom the Covenant team are set to find inhabiting a new and uncharted world alone as the sole survivor of the Prometheus mission – but also another, less terrifying synthetic crewman called Walter, who may serve in a more ‘Bishop’-like capacity. 

“I think Walter’s a real different kettle of fish. David was definitely a work-in-progress, somewhat of a prototype I suppose,” he explained. “The elements of him that were the human elements I think people found a little disturbing, so Walter’s more of a straightforward robot. Pretty logical, much more of a servant without the ego.”

Alien: Covenant – not to be confused with Alien 5

And finally, just a word to the wise – Alien: Covenant is not be confused with Alien 5. Covenant is a Ridley Scott-directed movie which will follow on from Prometheus, while Alien 5 is a Neill Blomkamp project that will serve as a new sequel to Aliens. Blomkamp has Sigourney Weaver signed up for his film, but will have to wait until Covenant‘s production is completed before pressing ahead.

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More news on both movies as we hear it. Also, we’ve got some Alien: Covenant image analysis on page 3 if you’re hungry for more info/speculation…

Alien: Covenant images

Key amongst the teaser images thus far is the following shot of Katherine Waterston, who seems to be channelling Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley in her look at least…

Danny McBride posted this picture, of him in a posh cockpit…

Previously, a further end of filming image was release on the official Alien Anthology Twitter account, showing director Ridley Scott and series newcomer Katherine Waterston looking cheerful on the movie’s set.

But note the hairstyle, the vest and the way the gun’s slung over Waterston’s shoulder. Isn’t she looking more and more like Ripley with every passing image? In this instance, she looks very like Aliens-era Ripley, which we’re guessing is far from a coincidence.

— Alien Anthology (@AlienAnthology) July 19, 2016

 

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Before that, a gif – showing a special effects artist carefully sculpting a hand – was tweeted from the franchise’s offical Twitter account. It’s not just any hand, either – a distinctly Giger-esque appendage with long spindly fingers.

Take a look:

— Alien Anthology (@AlienAnthology) July 6, 2016

While the sculpt is slightly obscured by the modeller’s hands, it’s worth noting that the hand has six digits – just like the alien originally designed by HR Giger in the original Alien. This effectively rules out the suit being for the Deacon, the blue, odd-looking proto-alien we saw at the end of Prometheus, since that beast had a more mundane five fingers.

While this may still be a form of alien we’ve never seen before, it’s surely intended as a way of getting fans like us speculating that it’ll look at least similar to the one that first menaced us all those years ago. Plus, isn’t it a relief to note that the xenomorph will be brought to life with practical effects, at least in part? 

Priorly, the official Alien Anthology Twitter account tweeted a picture of Ridley Scott himself, calling the shots on set with Michael Fassbender and a handsome-looking space helmet.

Take a look:

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There are a couple of things to note here. First, that the helmet in the mid-ground is far more like the ones we saw in 1979’s Alien – a stark contrast to the glass bubbles worn by the crew in Prometheus, which had a more 1950s vibe.

Second, check out Fassbender’s hair – the blonde do of the previous David is nowhere to be seen. Presumably, this David is less into Lawrence Of Arabia than the one in Prometheus – which is handy, because the different hairstyles will help us distinguish between the two. (Scott said about a year ago that Alien: Covenant will contain two versions of David the android.)

Maybe the new David’s obsessed with a completely different movie – like, say, Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach.  

Previously, the image directly above arrived online. Coming from a monitor on the shoot itself, it gives us a first look at Katherine Waterston’s character, Daniels – who we’re told is the film’s protagonist. 

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a cropped version of the image which takes out the distracting red bounding box and squares up the image. We did this using incredibly scientific instruments.

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With her short hair and grey vest, Daniels certainly looks Ripley-esque. The lighting and set design’s as handsome as we’d expect from a Ridley Scott movie, and the composition suggests there’s something very nasty lurking down the end of that corridor.

Brightening the image also reveals a few more details:

 

Daniels is wearing what appear to be combat boots and similarly combat-ready trousers. Is she a soldier of some kind? Perhaps even a Colonial Marine of some type? Thinking about it, Daniels’ haircut and outfit reminds us as much of Vasquez from Aliens as Ellen Ripley. 

 

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Note too the serious looking piece of hardware propped up by Daniels’ feet. It’s just possible it’s a kind of flamethrower we haven’t seen before – that would explain the fire apparently flickering down the end of the corridor. Besides, an Alien film wouldn’t be an Alien film without flamethrowers.

Alien: Covenant sequel novel

The face-huggers haven’t even hatched yet, but we’re already getting a sequel to Ridley Scott’s upcoming Prometheus sequel/Alien prequel, Alien: Covenant.

Well, sort of.

Titan Books have announced that they’ll be publishing a novelisation of the film, which hits theaters on the 19th of May, entitled Alien: Covenant Official Movie Novelisation. It’s set to arrive four days after the film’s release on the 23rd of May, but following that up on the 26th of September, Titan Books will release Alien: Covenant 2, a 304-page novel billed as ‘The Official Sequel To The Blockbuster Film.’ 

The books are being written by novelisation machine and prolific science fiction writer Alan Dean Foster, famous for contributing expanded universe stories in the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, among his own celebrated work. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have plot synopses or cover art available, but you can pre-order the book on Amazon.

So, after you scare yourself to death with back bursters and Neomorphs at the movie theater, you can keep the horrifying space adventure going with the sequel novel. Yayyyyy. Kinda. We just hope there aren’t so many lingering questions left after this film is done that an entire book is needed to explain stuff. 

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Alien: Covenant effects

As early as last July, news was breaking that director Ridley Scott was planning to use mainly practical creature effects for the sequel to his prequel (er, yes, we think that’s right) Alien: Covenant. This wouldn’t have been so widely reported were it not for the fact that studio movies tend to rely mostly on CG effects now instead. They’re often cheaper and faster, but lose some of the on-screen impact that old school effects have.

CreatureNFX’s Paul Trefry has been talking about working on Alien: Covenant‘s practical effects, along with Odd Studio and the U.K’s very own Creatures Inc. 

“It was good fun,” Trefry told if.com. “Ridley’s really good to work with. Quirky but good. With the decades of experience he’s got, he knows what works and doesn’t work. He knows exactly what he wants – and exactly how we can do it. He’s really good at methodology. I’m assuming [that’s] because he’s worked with so many people doing creatures.

“His reference illustrations are awesome, because he can draw; he has an arts background. A lot of directors can’t; they can tell you what they want but they can’t physically give you the visual information.”

Trefry goes on to describe working on “lots of bodies and little critters” for the film, but that “the main guy was a hybrid between a suit and an animatronic. There were quite a few suits, and then the headpiece is obviously an animatronic because you can’t operate it by hand.”

In terms of practical versus digital, Trefry thinks grounding the actors in reality helps the film to work better generally. 

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“Digital’s a great tool, [but] it’s sterile, and if you talk to any talent, it’s hideous working with a green screen, because you’ve got a tracking ball on the end of a stick. You get an eyeline, great, but they’ve got nothing to play off.”

But could we see a renaissance for cool practical effects in the future? Trefry thinks it might have already begun.

“Everything’s cyclical. We’ve gone through a very digital heavy period in film, [but] I think with Star Wars they’re swaying back to practical, because it does have a soul and a presence and you know what you’re getting in camera straight away.”